Information Regarding the Suspension of the Peace Corps Program in Bangladesh

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 18, 2001—The Peace Corps announced today its decision to suspend the program in Bangladesh for at least three months. The 43 currently serving Peace Corps Volunteers in Bangladesh were relocated three weeks ago to Bangkok, Thailand just prior to the national elections. Since that time, there has been a volatile political environment due to the recent election results and ongoing anti-American sentiment. The U. S. Ambassador and U. S. State Department have been informed of the decision to suspend.

All Volunteers have the option to re-enroll when the Bangladesh program re-opens, or re-enroll for a different Peace Corps program with priority status for a period of one year.

The Peace Corps has been assessing the viability of its program because of the difficult security climate in Bangladesh. Extensive attention has been given to safety and security issues for the volunteers and to strengthening Peace Corps’ capacity to evaluate and to respond systematically to various security issues.

Trends, over which the Peace Corps has no control, indicate that with the current unstable environment, it is prudent that Volunteers not return to their sites at this time.

We regret the suspension of our activity in Bangladesh after a 3-year partnership with the government and people of that nation. Though we view the suspension as necessary at this time, we remain interested in Bangladesh’s future and in the next few months will continuously reassess the safety situation with the intent to re-open the program when a more stable climate returns.

Nearly 60 volunteers have worked in Bangladesh since the first group arrived in 1998. Initial projects focused on helping teachers to improve their English language proficiency, primary education and wellness seminars for women.

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